The New Design

The last time that I did a design for my own site must have been 10 or 15 years ago. Since then I've been using one of the stock themes that came with the blogging software. As a professional web designer it's a little embarrassing to have gone this long without putting my own mark on my own site.

I suppose I'm so used to dealing with someone else's requirements and someone else's agenda, that I neglected to set my own. But the other thing that worked against me was my own perfectionism. Whenever I did get an idea for a design I would eventually grind myself to a halt picking at the details that didn't match my mind's eye.

For the new design things seemed to be on the same track. I had a few ideas and had already done a basic logo, but nothing seemed to click. Too dark, too mean, too unprofessional, too childish. Pick, pick, pick, pick pick.

Sometimes we're really our own worst enemy.

I worked through it though, taking the elements that I liked the most from each of the failures. Took some inspiration from other sites and kept plugging away at it. So here we are at the start of it. I would say the end, but it really is just a start. There's a ton of tweaks that I need to do. Nothing major but more optimizing the general concept.

There are some elements that are just a little busier than I would like. Things that should fade into the background a little more, like the breadcrumbs and some of the labels and instructions.

It feels good to finally have something up and while it's not perfect, I really do like the design more than I thought I would. I think the original concepts were just over-thought. I kept trying to fit too many details in and go to big. I wanted to create a rich interface with tons of detail. However, sometimes the simple things can be just as rich. This design reflects that principle.

I boiled the first few designs down to the basic concepts I liked. First the gargoyle had to be a center-piece and the flow of water out of it's mouth, like the flow of words that should come forth for a blog. Second I wanted the dark elements representative of gothic architecture, solid and long standing.

In remembering gothic architecture one must remember the splashes of color provided by the stained glass windows. To that end I played with a stained glass design for the header. It was too busy. So instead I extended the idea of the flow of water and let that be the splash of color I needed, along with touches in the gargoyle's tongue and eye.

The first couple of iterations were very simple, possibly overly simple. Then slowly I began to play with the light and shadows in very simple ways to emphasize those important elements. I personally love the ripple of water off the edges of the page falling into the "river" on the background.

Of course realistically none of this would have happened without a little encouragement from a special lady friend. While I'm the one that decided what to do and to do the actual work, to some degree I did it to impress her as much as I did it for myself.

Regardless, I'm proud of this new look and I'm looking forward to refining it further. :D